The rumble of yellow move-in carts, the cheers from the stands at Maryland Stadium and the fanfare of the marching band rehearsing its pregame show supplied an upbeat soundtrack of Fall Welcome Weekend at the University of Maryland.
In cars and SUVs stuffed with their still-in-the-wrapper gear, over 4,700 freshmen—and thousands of other students—and their families on campus over the past few days to begin the academic year and get to know the campus, and each other.
At the New Student Welcome picnic on Friday evening, President Darryll J. Pines advised Terps to “stand up and be counted” over the next four years.
“Take the classes that will challenge your preconceptions and grow your perspective. Join a student organization and make your voice heard. Show up to athletics events and arts performances and cheer on your peers. Wander our campus, explore Greater College Park and Washington, DC, and always say hello to the strangers who could one day turn into your lifelong friends,” he said.
On Thursday and Friday, students moving into residence halls overcame the steamy heat, crowds, traffic and the jitters, pumped up with hope and excitement to begin a new adventure at Maryland. Near the new Heritage Community, University of Maryland police directed vehicles into orderly rows for unloading, student volunteers distributed chilled water bottles and hits like “Day ‘N’ Nite” by Kid Cudi and “Replay” by lyaz created a festive atmosphere.
One of the parents preparing to say goodbye was Carey Reise, of Bel Air, Md., whose oldest son Tyler, a major arts studio, was moving into Pyon-Chen Hall. “I think he’s completely ready. This is the next phase and truthfully–’excited,’ that’s the best word I have,” she said as she headed to the new Yahentamitsi Dining Hall for lunch with her husband and younger son.
Maryland Athletics welcomed students to cheer on the Terps at men’s soccer, volleyball and field hockey games, while the Department of Resident Life, Division of Student Affairs organized dozens of events all weekend. Those ranged from the informal—open recreation at the Outdoor Aquatics Center, movies at the Hoff Theater, billiards and bowling at TerpZone and midnight Frisbee on McKeldin Mall—to formal gatherings for cultural groups, Student Entertainment Events’ Moonlit Music Concert and FreeFest.
The Saturday event on the Mall was packed with giveaways, fun activities and information about resources at UMD. Freshman mechanical engineering major Michael O’Neill walked down the steps of ODK Fountain with a bag of swag and surveyed the landscape around him. “It’s massive,” said O’Neill, a member of the Clark Scholars Program. “Thirty thousand undergraduate students sounds like a lot, and then you see it in person. It’s a lot to take in.”
It may be big, but Patty Perillo, vice president for student affairs, promised it would be a nurturing environment as well.
“If you hear nothing else I say to you tonight, I want you to remember this: This is a campus community that cares deeply about you,” she said Friday at New Student Welcome. “I care about you. We are committed to your success, and we will do all that we can to create the conditions for you to reach your full potential. We want every Terp to thrive!”
Dylan Manfre M.Jour. ’23 and Mayu Mishina contributed to this article.